Useful Tips for Night Forest Terrains.

Level 21
Sep 22, 2007

Useful Tips for Night Forest Terrains.

By Belgarath / Jack-Shepherd

This short guidebook is to teach you a few quick tips about terraining a forest, at night - usually scary - using the Ashenvale tileset. This can be a modern or medieval forest.

  1. Destructibles placement
  2. Doodad placement
  3. Terrain tiles
  4. Other options
  5. Example Screenshots

Section 1 - Destructible Placement

Destructibles are your average trees, barrels, barricades, etc. I will be focusing mainly on trees.
First of all, this can be done using pretty much any tree. However, a few basic object edits need to be done to get good trees.
First: the tree of your focus should have a set rotation of -1.00. This way they are not TOO repetitive.
Second: Warcraft trees are too small. This is why you should increase the maximum size to 1.40-1.80, depending on your camera zoom and crowdedness.
Now, once you have fixed up your tree of choice, there is a very short and basic guide to follow:
  • Trees should be placed a short bit away from roads. Depending on whether or not you have a ditch, it will be shorter or further. 2 squares at least.
  • Try to variate your size. Yes, this means doing it manually, however it will look better if one really small one is "cowering in the shadow" of a large one.
  • For your average "scary" terrain, trees should be spaced out by about 1-2 squares between each other. This gives you room to place zombies, make exciting runs through the forest and hide items.
  • When using cliffs, Blizzard or not, trees should be unevenly spaced out right on the edge. This prevents people from seeing too much.
  • Place trees in logical AND good looking areas. For example, sure, trees grow in dirt, but it looks SO much better when they grow in leaves, vines, lumpy grass or grass.
  • If the bottom of the tree is sticking out, lower it into the ground! This will look much better.
Now, when you place barricades, barrels, etc., they should be either away from the road, or directly on it. Barrels should be in clusters, with size variation, and barricades in logical positions, for example, circle with an opening.

Section 2 - Doodad Placement

I will be focusing only on environmental doodads, so as not to confuse you too much.
Doodads are very important. And you also only need 8 of them. These are: Tree Stump, Tree Stem (V/H), Tree Stem (D), Mushrooms, Shrubs, Cattails, Rocks, Flowers. Not too much, eh? Here is your short & basic guide:
  • Tree Stump: These are fallen trees, so they should be in a logical position: near other trees. Try to keep them near roads/paths, but not too close.
  • Tree Stems: These are fallen over trees, so they too should be near trees and not too far away from roads. I think they look good directly parallel to roads.
  • Mushrooms: The green type, they should grow in the shadow of things, especially tree stems. Also, elevate them up onto tree stems too. Don't place too many in one spot.
  • Shrubs: The main doodad I use, shrubs should be placed either in clusters of 2-4 or singularly. Place them near trees, stems, stumps and do not cover flowers with them. Also keep them away from too near the road.
  • Cattails: There is not too many place for cattails, only near rivers or lakes. Place them in clusters, near the edge of the water. They also look good with mushrooms, rocks and flowers.
  • Rocks: They should be placed singularly, lowered into the ground so much that you can't see the weird pebbles around them. This looks better. Cluster things around rocks, shrubs, flowers, cattails, mushrooms. They look good near roads and by trees.
  • Flowers: Your main colour source, flowers should be just about everywhere, except in water and on roads. They look great near trees and rocks and just in the open. Do not cluster them, place them in ones or twos, threes at the maximum.

Section 3 - Terrain Tiles

I will only be doing the Ashenvale tileset, with one Village tile.
Terrain tiles are the simplest parts of a good looking forest. You need: (Ashenvale)Dirt, Rough Dirt, Grassy Dirt, Grass, Lumpy Grass, Leaves, Vines, (Village)Rocks. Note that a good part of this is that you are not afraid of bad overgoes. You just do it anyway, but avoid it when you can. That way, it does not take too long. Here is your easy guide:
  • Dirt: Use for paths, muddy and unkempt. Try to avoid placing this near grass, as the overgo is not attractive. Rocks look good on Dirt.
  • Rough Dirt: The second part of a muddy, unkempt path. Keeping the edges near Grassy Dirt makes it look better. Rocks also look good here.
  • Grassy Dirt: Your "backbone" tile, start your map off with this. Grassy Dirt is "the overgoer", in between Dirt and Grass, it is good.
  • Grass: Your basic grass, not looking too wild. Keep this in meadows, near roads and on hillsides. Try to keep away from Dirt/Rough Dirt.
  • Lumpy Grass: The wilder version of Grass, this goes great with Leaves & Vines. Don't be afraid of its overgo, as people will not take too much notice. Keep it on the outside of "tree spots", with some veins of it running through.
  • Leaves: This is your tree tile. Place trees on it, Vines and Lumpy Grass. Its overgo is perfect with any tile, and shrubs look good on it.
  • Vines: Another tree-area tile, vines are there just to make the area look overgrown and scary. Do not place vines too near to roads, but rather on hilltops and forest hearts.
  • Village Rocks: This is your road tile - if you are modern. It looks like a good gravel path, which is what you want. Do not make it too wide, 1-4 squares, and try not to make it look too perfect, give it holes.

Section 4 - Other Options

This is a real quick thing about fog, time of day and some other tricks. They are all in the Map Options.
Fog: I use a deep purple, 30/0/30, at the most. This makes it look really scary and real night time. Also, consider putting a blackmask in game. This can help with lighting. Other options are blue, dark blue, dark teal, dark colours in general.
Time of Day: Obviously, it should be night time. Start your map at 8:00pm, where it is not too dark but already quite dark. Depending on whether or not you want day time, speed your time up accordingly.
Weather: I use an Ashenvale Rain, sometimes mixed with Lordaeron Rain. Fogs are good, as well as Wind (Heavy) and the two Outland winds. Experiment with them and I am sure you will find something.
Terrain Tiles: Using an extra grass is often effective, I recommend either Village Grass, Sunken Ruins Grass or Sunken Ruins Dark Grass. Or think about importing a deep grass, not bright!
Lighting: Set your lighting to Ashenvale. It is darker at night than other lighting sets. And do not, under any circumstances, set it to Underground, unless you want some screwed up shit - :p.

Section 5 - Example Screenshots

These are some screenshots I made using this technique. Approximate game camera.

1. Example Screenshot #1.jpg
2. Example Screenshot #2.jpg

Thanks, hope it helped!
Last edited:
Level 34
Sep 6, 2006
Might want to make the table of contents list link to the corresponding section.

To be honest I tl;dr. It's just a wall of text, and for something like terrain it should have step by step pictures. Remember you're making these for someone that doesn't know.
Level 24
Feb 28, 2007
This tutorial has potential, and teaches people how to terrain good looking forests. The formatting works and the colored text is not abused but used in special-well picked places. Perhaps some (like mentioned before) WIP images would be very good, that's my main and only conern, I think. So if you fix that, I'd say this should get an approval.
However, are you ever going to update this? It's been like 4 months already, and it doesn't seem by your previous posts that you are actually still working on this.